MLToday: [Judges Chapter Three]: The Dagger of God’s Word. In this chapter the first two judges are revealed by the names of Othniel and Ehud. Othniel was a descendant of Caleb and delivered Israel out of their first captivity in the time of the Judges. Ehud was an assassin ordained by God to remove a Moabite king. Ehud’s weapon of choice was a dagger he thrust into the king’s belly. We are often ruled by our belly, by our flesh nature. The only solution is to thrust the word of God into our own sinful flesh to expose the corruption there. In this way we become self correcting and thereby put ourselves in a position to break the bands of the enemy over our lives.

Today: [Judges Chapter Three]: The Dagger of God’s Word. In this chapter the first two judges are revealed by the names of Othniel and Ehud. Othniel was a descendant of Caleb and delivered Israel out of their first captivity in the time of the Judges. Ehud was an assassin ordained by God to remove a Moabite king. Ehud’s weapon of choice was a dagger he thrust into the king’s belly. We are often ruled by our belly, by our flesh nature. The only solution is to thrust the word of God into our own sinful flesh to expose the corruption there. In this way we become self correcting and thereby put ourselves in a position to break the bands of the enemy over our lives.

[Jdg 3:1-31 KJV] 1 Now these [are] the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, [even] as many [of Israel] as had not known all the wars of Canaan; 2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; 3 [Namely], five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. 4 And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

In this chapter are named the Philistine lords that remained in the Promised Land. God’s original purpose was to drive out all the inhabitants of the land but the Israelites specifically the eastern tribes of Ruben, Gad, Manaseh and Ephraim chose to put them under tribute instead. The promised land for us is not heaven as many teach for there will be no Philistines to conquer in heaven. Your promised land is that place in life where your potential is realized by the guidance and grace of God. The Israelites failed by compromising with those around them as we are often tempted to do. The names of the 5 lords of the Philistines speak to us of those influences of the flesh that we often have to contend with because we have allowed compromise in our lives. Joshua 13:3 names these five lords:

Gazathites = Strong (Stubborness)

Ashdothites = Spoiled

Eshkalonites = Hot Tempered (Judgmental)

Gitites = Pleasure Seeking

Ekronites = Restless

Avites = Perverse (Distorted)

This warfare is primarily something that takes place on the inside of us as Paul said in Gal. 5:17:

Gal. 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:and these are contrary the one to the other:so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

As the Israelites were mandated to cleanse the land of Canaan so we are mandated to cleanse the spiritual geographic of our inner life from these elements:

2 Cor. 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: 6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. 7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. 8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years. 9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, [even] Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. 11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Chushanrishathaim means “doubly wicked” and specifically “religiously wicked”. The Israelites dabbled in the paganism of the Philistines and found themselves overwhelmed by a king far more vile than they could imagine. Sin always takes you further than you want to go. Peter said :

2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption:for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

Now begins the litany of Judges that God sent from time to time to deliver the people from bondage. Othniel was Caleb’s grandson. His name means “force of God”. Matt 11:12 tells us:

Matt. 11:12 … the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Radical problems demand radical solutions. When you find yourself defeated and struggling the enemy doesn’t yield just because you say “Jesus”. You have to rise up in your identity in Christ and act. Luke 17:20,21 says that the kingdom doesn’t come with observation. You have to do something. Your response time to God measures His response time to you in a time of trouble. The quality of your response to God in times of challenge becomes the measurement of the intensity of God’s response to deliver you. That hand of God will manifest in direct response to the character of your passion and your fidelity and faith toward His throne.

12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. 14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. 15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab. 16 But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. 17 And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon [was] a very fat man. 18 And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present. 19 But he himself turned again from the quarries that [were] by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him. 20 And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of [his] seat. 21 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: 22 And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.

The next king to bring the people into bondage was Eglon. His name comes from a root word meaning to “revolve”. He was a Moabite and therefore descended from the incestuous relationship of Lot with his daughters. He represents the situations in our lives where we are going in circles and living in a spiritually closed system. We aren’t open to fresh truth from God and we can’t seem to make the connection between our religious tribalism and the stagnate place we find ourselves in. What is the answer? God sent a deliverer named Ehud. Ehud’s name means “thankfulness” and “unity”. When you are in the place of stagnation you need to break out of any sectarian thinking and get in unity with believers even those outside your camp. You need to walk in thankfulness and praise until the breakthrough comes in your life. Ehud’s dagger brought the dirt out of Eglon’s belly. The dagger represents the word of God discerning that in our lives that gets covered up and hidden. We have the idea that God will send someone to rebuke us and there are many religious people who are glad to accept that job but it is up to us to SANCTIFY ourselves because only YOU can truly be honest with yourself and be self correcting.

23 Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them. 24 When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour [were] locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber. 25 And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened [them]: and, behold, their lord [was] fallen down dead on the earth. 26 And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath. 27 And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them. 28 And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. 29 And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years. 31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.

When we deal with ourselves then the trumpet of God can be sounded to bring the army of God to your defense. Many times we find ourselves fighting the battle alone because we haven’t put the dagger of God’s word to our own belly – our own sinful tendencies. We are quick to thrust others and point out what is wrong in the lives of others or in the church but until we DEAL with ourselves we will not have the victory that only comes when we connect in a powerful way with other like minded believers.

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